My Latest Presentation:
Circle of Wine Writers
“Let’s Talk about…Willamette Valley Sparkling Wine”
Recently, I moderated a panel discussion for Circle of Wine Writers “Let’s Talk About…” online series with three of the Willamette Valley’s most respected sparkling wine producers. The discussion dove deep into the history – and diversity – of Willamette Valley traditional method wine, and why it possesses an advantage over most other sparkling winemaking regions beyond Champagne.
Panelists included Rollin Soles of ROCO Winery, who touched on the history of, and reasons for, choosing the Willamette Valley for sparkling production. Soles established the Oregon Sparkling wine movement in 1987 when he built Argyle Winery. Over thirty years later, he continues to make highly regarded still and sparkling wines at his own project, ROCO Winery.
Next, Luisa Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards dived deep into the diversity of growing locations in the Valley and harvest criteria. Luisa, raised up in the Oregon wine industry, returned to Oregon after studying in Burgundy, where she and her sister Maria grew Ponzi from 10,000 to 40,000 cases. Earlier this year the winery was sold to Bollinger, where Luisa remains in control as winemaker.
Finally, Kate Payne-Brown, winemaker for Stoller Family Estate, closed the session talking about styles of traditional method wines produced, plus picking, processing, and dosage decisions. Kate, who abandoned an intended career in optometry to pursue her master’s degree in oenology more than 15 years ago in Australia, today firmly roots herself in Stoller Family Estate, and Willamette Valley’s sparkling wine industry.
The discussion will provide an authoritative view of an increasingly important wine region – many rank the Willamette Valley as the new world’s closest challenger to Europe’s finest sparkling wines.